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A. M. Church and the Stuart Ledger

The first issue of a newspaper bearing the name of a new editor frequently carried his written introduction to the public. Editor A. M. Church introduced himself on March 24, 1899, to readers of the Stuart Ledger (on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society) in the following salutatory entitled "The New Ledger":

"In any business except journalism a man would be considered foolish who would tell everybody his plans and intentions. But when it comes to publishing a newspaper the editor is expected to write a 'Salutatory' for the first issue, in which he points out the mistakes of his predecessors and makes glowing promises and predictions for the future. Usually he lies, and makes a lot of promises that he never intends to fulfill-simply because it is customary.

"I shall yield to custom so far as the 'Salutatory' is concerned, (this is it) but as for promises, I have none to make. I have taken charge of the Ledger for the purpose of making money. If the paper proves to be a blessing to Stuart and 'fills a long felt want' I shall have no objection to being called a philanthropist if the people want it that way. Of course, I shall not be able to make any money unless I publish a good paper; but I am an experienced newspaper man, and believe that when I get thoroughly settled down to business I shall be able to conduct such an all-fired good paper that there will be no question about 'support,' and a large, strong safe will be a necessary addition to the furniture of this office. This is simply optimism-not egotism if you please. . . .

"Politically, I am a republican, and, when occasion demands, can tell why. If you think the Ledger will be worth the price to you, come in and say so; if not, don't. For heaven's sake don't take the paper 'just to help me out,' for that sort of thing makes me tired. A. M. Church."

Despite the best efforts of editor Church, the Ledger failed to prosper. Church later edited newspapers at Naper, Lindsay, and Atkinson, Nebraska.

(March 1996)



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